The Virginia men’s basketball team carried its momentum from last week’s historic defeat of Clemson Thursday into College Park Sunday, beating Maryland 80-69. The game was uncharacteristically high scoring for the defensively-minded Cavaliers (17-6, 7-3 ACC).
Junior guard Joe Harris scored a game-high 22 points on a blistering 7-of-8 shooting streak, and freshman guard Justin Anderson added a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds in his second consecutive start for the shorthanded Cavaliers. Anderson, who originally committed to play for the Terrapins when he was in high school (17-7, 5-6 ACC), scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half while enduring a chorus of boos and chants of “we don’t need you” from Maryland fans each time he touched the ball.
Accuracy from long range helped spark the Cavaliers’ 80-point outburst, the team’s highest total since an 82-75 victory against Georgia Tech on Jan. 13, 2010. Virginia scored a season-high 33 points from beyond the arc by sinking 11-of-19 3-point attempts.
In addition to Harris and Anderson, two other starters scored in double-digit figures in the team’s second ACC road victory of the year: junior forward Akil Mitchell and sophomore guard Paul Jesperson with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Jesperson scored all of his career-high 12 points from long range, and his 3-pointer off an assist from senior guard Jontel Evans put Virginia up 40-29 in the opening minutes of the second half during a moment when the Cavaliers definitively pulled away. Evans finished with an ACC career-high eight assists.
Mitchell helped slow 7-foot-1 Terrapin sophomore phenom center Alex Len, who entered the game sixth in the ACC in rebounds, averaging eight per game. Len finished with just nine points and seven rebounds, and the Cavaliers became the first team all season to outrebound the Terrapins, posting a 34-29 edge on the glass.
The win was Virginia’s fourth straight against Maryland and its sixth in its last seven ACC contests, moving the team a full game ahead of North Carolina for third place in the conference standings.
Virginia will host Virginia Tech Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Cavaliers earned a 74-58 win in their Jan. 24 meeting in Blacksburg.
—compiled by Daniel Weltz